US News and World Report reported that almost half of all students file their FAFSA passed their state’s deadline, losing out on opportunities for state-based grants. Given that it’s nearly the end of March, I hate to tell you that you have already missed out on fourteen state deadlines.
February 15 – Connecticut, Tennessee
March 1 – Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island
March 2 – California
March 10 – Indiana
March 15 – Kentucky, North Dakota
Plus, Illinois has a soft deadline of “as soon as possible” after January 1
Take note that if you live in Mississippi, the deadline is just around the corner: March 31st. Twenty-some other states have deadlines of April 1st and later.
The good news is that the Federal deadline is not until June 30, so even if you missed your state deadline, you can still gain access to federal grants and loans, such as the Pell Grant and the Stafford or Perkins loans.
One of the major roadblocks to timely completion of the FAFSA, according to US News & World Report, is the complicated nature of the FAFSA. A lot of the terminology is difficult to understand and the documents needed to complete the FAFSA seem impossible to gather. (To avoid these kinds of blunders, check out my post on avoiding common FAFSA errors.)
Making sure that students get their applications in on time drove the Department of Education to make the FAFSA simpler and shorter this year. Next year, it should get even easier, when an automatic tax fill-in option up, which instantly adds in your tax return data, will be up and running.
Have you struggled to get your FAFSA in by your state’s deadline? What was the stumbling block for you?